There are many ways to say the same thing in the English language. It is a never ending vocabulary of similarities. The word good, for instance, can be expressed in various ways depending on its context, great, awesome, wonderful, excellent, etc. and indifference is no exception. The phrase holy indifference does not simply mean I don’t care. In context, it means a complete surrender to God’s plan. In other words, nothing else matters if I do not care to seek God’s will in my life.
My life is not just a clump of matter that can be tossed around by circumstantial chance. I do not engage in every sudden change around me as if I were perpetually on-call to life’s beckon. Dignity plays a large role in how we embrace the virtue of holy indifference. The more familiar term for this virtue is detachment, an attitude of indifference that strips away any reliance or unhealthy attachment toward created things.
Holy indifference is what strengthens our resolve to be pure of heart. A pure heart seeks to gaze into the eyes of God and holy indifference is the Amen to that endeavor. Apart from God nothing else makes sense, and our striving for a life in Christ is lessened whenever we compromise for less than what God had intended for us to receive. And we would be remiss if we did not desire the same life for others; if we did not call those we love on to become more than they settle for.
To aim for more than this world has to offer is to seek to acquire that which can only be found in an encounter with the living God. Our detachment of material things and of friendships and relationships requires a rightly ordered way of life. A life that enjoys all things and all people but does not seek to settle for them. God continues to be our ultimate end and if that is the case, we will never be deceived by facades of satisfaction or fulfillment which only fade away with time. Engaging in all created things and goods is necessary, we are not meant to completely isolate ourselves from what God has created but we are meant to purify our encounter with and use of them, remembering that they are steps in the right direction. God’s will is found in the present moment and often that means our interactions with others.
St. John of the Cross had a motto that helped me walk along life’s circumstances and temptations. He simply looked at everything and gave a spiritual shrug to it all saying, “Nada, Nada, Nada,” which means “Nothing, Nothing, Nothing.” All that means for every one of us is, Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Our priority in this life is to Glorify God and save souls! But ultimately the goal is perfect Love! We can recognize it more and more primarily in prayer and by reading scripture. Seek Him in solitude and Jesus, who is the perfect manifestation of love, will be made manifest to you and you will know him and imitate his love more perfectly.
If we continue to keep our relationship with Jesus Christ at the forefront of all that we do and if we continue to seek his will for our life everything else will fit nicely into second place and our efforts will begin to naturally focus on perfect Charity (love). Everything else becomes, as St. John of the Cross would say, “Nada, Nada, Nada.”